Doctors and nurses in North West London are encouraging local people to attend hospital and GP appointments as the NHS starts to restore services as part of the ‘recovery’ phase of the covid-19 pandemic.
At the peak of the covid-19 outbreak, non-emergency elective services in hospitals were suspended, but they are now being reintroduced. Waiting times for elective care have increased due to the suspension, but patients are now being contacted and asked to come in for procedures. GP appointments have continued throughout the pandemic, with many appointments taking place virtually, by telephone or video call.
Pippa Nightingale, Chief Nurse at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“If you are called for an appointment, please make sure you attend. It’s vital that patients get the treatment they need, so that problems do not get worse.
All our hospitals have put in place rigorous infection control measures to keep patients and staff safe. This includes having covid-secure areas and sites, so that we keep people who may have covid-19 separate from those who we know do not. You will get clear instructions from your hospital on what you need to do, including self-isolating for two weeks before your appointment. If you are asked to come in, it’s really important that you do.”
Dr Mohini Parmar, GP Chair of Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group and primary care lead for North West London, added:
“Please contact your GP if you need medical advice. You may be offered a telephone, video or online consultation, as they are now all available across North West London practices. We may also ask you to send us pictures. If you are called in for a face to face consultation, please follow the guidance your practice will provide, so that your care is as safe as we can make it. We have learnt a lot from these new ways of working and they will be a part of how you access your GP in the future. You can help us by supporting everyone in your family to use the technology.”
Dr Martin Kuper, Medical Director at London North West University Healthcare Trust, said:
“The NHS is here for you: please seek help if you need it. If you need medical advice, please call your GP or dial 111 in the first instance. In a medical emergency, call 999.
“Covid-19 is still with us and will be for the foreseeable future. The NHS remains in a level 4 emergency. Our priority is delivering safe and high quality services for our patients. This is why we have covid-secure and covid-protected sites and areas within sites. You should continue to act responsibly: follow the national guidance on social distancing, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and wear a face covering in public places.”